The Love of My Life

I’ve been married for almost four years and with my husband for almost nine years. He is my complete opposite but we go together great. I can’t imagine my life without him. He is the father of our two little ones and I wouldn’t have chosen anyone different.

Last July we found out he has a heart condition. It’s called Wolfe Parkinson White syndrome and it means he has an extra electrical valve. So his heart races fast and slows right down. It simply doesn’t beat properly or pump blood properly. It was a scary weekend last July that he spent in the hospital.

Now we got the call that he is to go in the hospital this week to have this valve burned off. There is a small chance he will need a Pacemaker if they burn both valves by accident. And I of course dwell on the bad. I am a constant worrier and I can’t seem to help it. I don’t show my worrying around my kids but it’s always there. Especially in the dead of night as I try to sleep.

I can’t imagine my life without this man. He is the best part of us and the best daddy to our kids. He works hard and always finds a way to support our family. I try to appreciate him always but some days love gets sidetracked by kids and mundane household chores.

If you read this, please think a good thought or a little prayer for my soul mate. He means the world to me. He is the love of my life.

Things I Didn’t Know

Before I moved to rural Saskatchewan I had not a clue about anything farming related. I still haven’t learned all I want to but learning takes time. And patience, which my husband doesn’t have alot of.

In high school I went to my first farm party. As my friend was driving in the farmyard she said let’s go check out the grain pile. I replied with what’s a grain pile? It turned out to be a pile of grain on the ground. I got made fun of alot for that one.

When I was a young child I thought brown cows made chocolate milk. My husband still can’t believe this.

I did not know how to drive a car before I moved to this farm. Luckily my husband taught me the basics and then hired a driving instructor to teach me the rest. I am so glad I can drive.

I had no knowledge of seeding, calving, harvest, etc. I was totally ignorant has to how a farm worked. And how my food got to my table. Now I can converse quite well with people about our daily farming life.

Besides being able to drive an automatic car, I now know how to drive a tractor and a manual pick up truck. I’ve even driven the standard while pulling a flat deck trailer. Maybe someday I will learn how to drive the semi, although that scares the bejesus out of me.

I can check the calving cows with confidence when my husband is sleeping or not home. But if a calf needs to be pulled for whatever reason I need to phone someone to help with that. I’ve watched and helped my husband pull many over the years but I have never done it myself.

I know what a gopher looks like and a mouse. I know the howls of a coyote quite well. I’ve seen eagles and hawks and owls all over our farm. There has been deer in our yard many times.

I will continue to learn alongside my husband and children as the years go by. I actually really want to learn to bale hay. Maybe once my kids are a little older I can talk my husband into teaching me.

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Hardworking Husband

My loving husband has worked many jobs in his almost thirty years. He’s been farming since he was a young boy. And that is his passion. To pay for this passion of his means he has to work an off farm job.

He’s worked on the drilling rigs before we had kids. He’s worked at a mechanic shop in town. I liked this job cause it was the only one with 8-5 hours 5 days a week. For the past four years he’s been driving an oil tanker. He owns a semi and works as a lease operator for an oil company. Uses their trailer and short hauls oil and water from place to place.

He’s gone by 6 or 7 in the morning and not back until anywhere between 5 pm and midnight. He doesn’t see our kids often when he’s working and I don’t wait up for him on the late nights. His schedule is a 7 on, 3 off, 7 on, 3 off, 5 on, 3 off continuous. Simply put, we miss him. Especially our two year old. He loves to feed our cows and do anything in the tractor. He only gets to do those things on Dad’s days off.

We both hope that one day our farm will be able to support our family and he won’t have to work off farm. He really only drives truck during the winter months. He drives truck some during the summer months if the farming isn’t too busy. I sure get lonely and sad during the winter months out here on the farm when he’s working these long days. I don’t know if my loneliness is more so since we had kids or less.

It’s hard on all of us. We almost never have family suppers or breakfasts or much time at all. I hope the day comes soon that he can be home with us more and just enjoying his farming.

Calving

It’s that time of year again at our farm! We wait and wait and wait for the first calf of the year to be born. Constantly checking the cows and heifers everyday for weeks before we finally come across a new baby. The first ones are always exciting but as you get into a month or two of calving it gets tedious and a bit boring.

For the first five years I lived out here my job was to check at 3am so my husband could get some sleep. I loved the simplicity of those middle of the night cow checks. Me and our old dog Homer walking in the cold still night. Everything dark and quiet and just really peaceful. If something was calving I would hurry back to the house to wake up my husband.

We’d go back out together to bring the new calf and momma into the barn. Get them bedded down with new straw and make sure the calf was sucking. Some nights there would be more new ones outside after we had just got others in the barn. We spent many hours out there in the middle of the night working together to make sure the new babies were warm and fed. On the really cold nights I would climb in the hot box with a calf or two as my husband fed other new calves.

I haven’t done those late night checks for three years and I probably won’t do them this year either. Our own babies have joined our family now and I can’t catch up on sleep as easily I could when we were kid free. We bundle up our kids and take them to the barn to see new baby calves throughout our calving season. I miss the freedom and silence of those late night cow checks but maybe in a few years when our kids are in school I can start doing it again.

Our first calf hasn’t come yet this year so here we sit waiting to see what will join our cow family. A heifer? A steer? What color? How big? Twins? This is such an exciting time of year!

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Farm Driving

When I first moved out here to my now husband’s farm, I didn’t know how to drive. I had no need to drive while living in Ontario and even living in small town Saskatchewan. After being out here a couple months and constantly having to rely on my always working boyfriend to drive me anywhere I decided to get my license.

My boyfriend gave me an old, well used 1982 Dodge truck to drive around in. He taught me how to parallel park by putting two round hay bales the perfect width apart. He wasn’t the best teacher as he is easily frustrated and yells alot but I got the hang of it. Two tries and I had my license!

Here I thought I’d have great independence with my shiny new drivers license but alas I was really just a parts girl running to town for my busy boyfriend. I drove that truck for a couple years until it started to become unreliable.

I had just left town one evening heading home and discovered the brakes had quit working while I was driving 90km down the highway. I was terrified!!! I did a movie style u turn at an intersection in order to get home that night.

In the winter, I was constantly sliding through stop signs in town and spinning tires as I tried to get going again. And the battery cables were so rusted it was hard to get my old Dodge started.

I hauled a round straw bale in the back of that truck from a neighbor’s field to our house. I thought it would roll forward and squish me and kill me while I was driving!

I think about that old truck and the good memories I made in it often. It now sits out in our yard and we use it as a garbage truck. Maybe someday our kids will learn how to drive and parallel park in it.

Thrill Of A Sale

I recently accompanied my husband to a cattle sale. We’ve been to many sale over the years and I find the ones where we’re selling to be more fun. As soon as you walk in the building, the smells bring memories back and maybe a gag to your mouth. He constantly tells me I will get used to the smell of cow poop but I think that’s a fib, it’s been 8 years around cattle and it still disgusts me.

Cattle sales are a good place to people watch I’ve learned. The excitement of watching the little tics of buyers and trying to keep track of who’s bidding at any given time help pass the day away. A thumb here, a nod there and the surprise of seeing a woman bidding. It’s a rush to hear our name being called out when we’ve purchased a ring of cows or heifers.

Trying to keep track of what the auctioneer is calling out is another round of fun. Have you ever heard a person talk so fast? I have a hard time understanding what he’s saying, let alone following along so I could bid. Who says white men can’t rap? Go to a cattle sale and listen to the auctioneer!

There’s no chit chat with my husband at a cattle sale. He’s too involved in the ring of cows, other buyers and knowing where the bids are. So if you wanna have a discussion with him, make sure to do it on the drive to the sale.

If you’re ever bored and visiting the Prairies, go to a cattle sale. Enjoy the sights and sounds and the coffee’s on the house.

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